Luke #69 – Reality Series
“And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, ‘Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.’ For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, ‘Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.’ And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed Him” (Luke 5:7-11 – King James Version).
Do you watch those reality shows on TV? I am very wary of them. Reality is defined as “state or quality of being real” or a “resemblance to what is real.” These shows are real, because there are real things happening to real people, but it stops there. There is a fine line right here…these shows are drama, not reality. Regular folk DO NOT go and live on a deserted island with people they cannot stand and hardly any food. Regular folk do not get into vats of cockroaches or eat live critters. Regular people do not get their spouse from a game show. Regular people do not trade wives for a month to see if someone else’s is better. This is not reality, but I am afraid that through popular television, people will begin to think that it is. All that it is TV setting people up to perform an unrehearsed drama and sacrifice their self-respect at the altar of ratings.
Today’s Scripture presents us with reality that we would rather think of as fantasy. The Lord Jesus causes the fisherman to receive such a great haul of fish that their nets brake. At the command to cast out and fish, Peter had been obedient, but he did not believe any thing would happen. When Peter saw the great haul of fish, his unbelief was revealed and Peter fell before the Lord confessing. The reality is that much of the church walks behind a veil of unbelief.
What do I mean by that? Simply this, we go through the motions, careful to do the right things, but we don’t really believe anything will happen. We are like some surreal “reality” show that fakes the appearance of true reality. We pray because we are supposed to, but do we expect God to not only hear, but to move? Do we have unbelieving hearts that need to fall broken before God?
Another plain reality is this: when we see or realize the power of God, we will fall down before Him. When we have an encounter with the Lord Jesus we will fall down before Him crying, “I AM UNWORTHY!” Too often we are trying to get some kind of warm fuzzy feeling from Jesus, when what we should have is an awesome reverence for Him.
Another plain reality: when Peter realized the power of this God-Man, Christ Jesus, Peter’s concentration was no longer on the stuff. By stuff I mean the fish in this particular case. His concentration switched from things to his soul condition and Peter’s concentration also switched to worship of Christ. Too often we want stuff from the Lord, but what He wants from us is worship.
Another plain reality: the moment Jesus got those guys attention He gave them a new agenda. Their agenda was no longer fishing for fish, but fishing for souls. Too often we want the stuff, and we want our own agenda, and we want Jesus on the side or mixed in with that mess. Jesus calls His followers to a new, different, higher, and better agenda. It is certainly not a personal agenda.
Another plain reality: when Jesus calls and when we respond, it cannot be a half-hearted venture. Verse 11 says that those fellows “forsook all” and “followed Him.” Can each of say today that we have taken this posture with the Lord? Are we trying to cling to the old man, the old life, and the old way? Are we trying to have this life and the one Jesus offers at the same time? They have very different ends; which do we want?
Another plain reality: our service and devotion to Christ is not conditional. Jesus gave no time frame to these fishermen’s call. He gave them no mission directive; it was an open ended call to follow Him…come what may…at His discretion.
I really believe that today’s church (that’s you and me) wants something that resembles the Christian life, but we don’t want it to be too real. We want ratings over reality. The reality is that we are sinful people in the presence of a holy God. We cannot act as if it is any other way and we cannot ignore God’s holiness or our sinfulness and claim to know Him or serve Him. It is not a drama, but a reality. The reality is that we cannot live the old life and the new life at the same time. We MUST forsake all to follow Him. God will not settle for our definition of a reality that “resembles” something other than the real deal. God will not settle for a dramatic reality that is anything but real. He wants real people, sure, but He wants people to be real with Him…recognize who we are and who He is, count the cost, forsake it all, and follow Him and His agenda. Are we living television’s idea of reality or God’s?